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Moscow Court Recognizes Ukrainian Maidan as 'Coup'

A protester shouts during clashes with pro-government forces at Independence Square in Kiev. Konstantin Chernichkin / Reuters

A Moscow court has upheld the petition of former Ukrainian Member of Parliament Vladimir Oleynik, who claimed that 2014's "Maidan Revolution" in Kiev was a "coup," and that the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych was removed illegally.

According to the judge who read the court's decision, the "coup" is "common knowledge, does not need any special evidence, and cannot be put in doubt." 

On the matter of Russian jurisdiction in regards to an event that happened in Ukraine, the court explained that the "legal significance of the coup in Ukraine goes beyond its territory, and directly affects the security of Russia."

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych testified as a witness in the case, along with former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and former Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Arbuzov. All of them labeled Maidan a "coup" and claimed it had been orchestrated by the United States and European Union.

Oleynik said he believes that the decision will eventually lead to international recognition of the "coup," referring to a decision by an American court on the 2009 coup in Honduras. 

"Sooner or later, the criminals will answer," Oleynik told reporters after the court's decision.

Euromaidan began in Kiev on Nov. 21, 2013. The initial demonstrations were peaceful, but riots broke out after police stormed the protesters' camp on 30 Nov. On Feb. 21 2014 an agreement was made between the opposition and then President Viktor Yanukovych, but he fled the capital in the early morning hours of Feb. 22, later arriving in Russia.

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